'Til Voters Do Us Part: What Happens to Gay Marrieds if Ban Passes?

By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Oct 30, 2008 11:14 AM CDT
Richie Beanan from Los Angeles, puts a sign on a bus that will tour California in support of Proposition 8.   (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)
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(Newser) – If California’s gay marriage ban passes, “legal chaos” will ensue for those who tied the knot since it became legal to do so in June, lawyers warn. With no court precedents, experts are left guessing whether those marriages would remain valid, the Los Angeles Times reports. Ultimately, the decision would lie with the state’s Supreme Court, which voted 4 to 3 for gay marriage.

The proposition reads that same-sex marriage is invalid “regardless of when and where performed,” but isn’t explicitly retroactive. The state's AG, Jerry Brown, has said Proposition 8 wouldn't affect existing marriages, but that position will surely be challenged. "There is no clear answer," says the dean of a California law school. "This is ultimately going to have to be litigated by the courts." It could be raised in the context of an inheritance or property dispute, the Times notes.